Is it Time to Get Healthier in Sobriety?

I see so many of my sober friends leading such healthy lives! They do yoga, and eat vegan, and grow organic foods, do cleanses on regular basis, and are totally into green everything! And they are now running marathons too! Wow. I am amazed. How do they do that?

Food

Well, I still smoke, and drink tons of coffee and eat probably way too much sugar. There is no exercise or yoga on regular basis for me, and I love red meat and lots of butter over my veggies.

Is it time for another change?

When I was drinking I was definitely not healthy, especially since I often did not eat at all or very little, depending on how much I was drinking. When I was first getting sober I kinda had to learn how to eat regular food all together, and trying to quit anything else at the same time was not even a thought. As a matter of fact at the rehab they told us not to quit anything else within the first year. They told us that the different stages of withdrawal from alcohol may be harder when combined with the withdrawal from certain foods, and some foods like sugar may help with withdrawal. So I used caffeine and nicotine as my crutch… and candy… of course those aren’t foods either! LOL! But, it still feels like sometimes I need a crutch.

I still think that getting sober was so very, very difficult, especially following the four years of miserable relapsing – I just felt like I couldn’t give up anything else! I didn’t want to give up anything else!

And rewards! Where are my rewards! I often felt like I didn’t have any rewards left at all, you know for job well done, or the end of the week, or birthdays and holidays! I used to drink as a reward! No wait, who am I kidding – I drank because that’s what I did; I did not need a reason!

change

I read so many blogs and see so many of my friends going all healthy! I am truly amazed and I admire them that they are able to turn their lives around and change heir health so drastically! But me? Eh. I mean I have dieted after my babies and I did quit smoking when I was pregnant, but I love my occasional smoke breaks! And a nice piece of steak with garlic butter? Hmmm good! What is really weird is that I also feel like I deserve it. I often and still feel like I have worked so darn hard to quit my very best friend in the whole wide world (not really a best friend, really more like my worst enemy) so instead, I figured that I can have anything else, no matter how bad it is for me (well excluding mind altering substances!) and I still think if I don’t have a crutch then what will I do? Will I drink again! Oh and I so don’t want to drink again! But I have been sober for a while… I shouldn’t need a crutch anymore, right? Ugh.

So well, I was thinking, I suppose it’s all in moderation, like they say! Ha, so they say, but moderation is not really in my vocabulary! LOL! Definitely not when it comes to drinking! But maybe it’s time to get a bit healthier! Maybe nothing horribly drastic, I don’t see myself going vegan any time soon! But a little less caffeine? A little less sugar? And maybe little more exercise and little more salads!

I have changed many things in my life and gained sooo much more than I have ever expected. So, I think these are like my last few things that I am just hanging on to, you know, and I am now, finally coming to terms that I don’t need that anymore. In the end, this is just like getting sober; I think that I am giving up things, instead of looking at all the things that I will be gaining! And good health is definitely important!

What about you? Have you made many changes to live healthier in sobriety?


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23 Comments Add yours

  1. Hi Sober Courage,

    I’m here and I stepped straight ouf of the Little House on the Prairy to…. rain on your parade, but just a tiny little.

    Apart from the spiritual and mental side there seems to be a physical side to addiction that is VERY important, or so the people that make money out of that say… But I start to believe them. Cravings, depression, anxiety, fatigue and insomnia often have a very clear physical cause in depletion of one or more nutrients or one or more glands that are not working. Alcohol deprives the body of many nutrients that just cannot be restored by ‘eating healthy’. The reaction of the body is to have more cravings. I think I agree with that because looking around on the sober blogs I have been the on of the few (sofar) without cravings (ok, sofar) and the only one that added serious nutrients to the diet. (This is the LHOP part)

    Secondly, sugar, smoking and caffeine also deplete your body of nutrients AND prolongue and even stimulate the cravings for alcohol…. (this is the rain part) because addiction to alcohol is very strong in people that have instable blood sugar levels. (look for hypoglemia and alcohol addiction)

    If you want to learn more about this you might want to read Dr Joan Mathew Larson her book ‘Seven weeks to sobriety’, or visit the Health Recovery Centre because the book is amazing but very, pffff, say you really got to sit down to read it. Don’t (or do?) be alarmed by Dr. Larson’s attitude towards the psychological approach to addiction, she acknowledges the fact that it is there, she just says, take some more vitamins and 98% of your problems and symptoms will disappear. And she is very disappointed with those that only take the psychological side because she gets her clients to 74% recovery against 22% max in the psychological corner.

    I believe her. I have seen what nutriens do in me but I had to find it all out by myself so obviously I have not been complete but the effect is wonderful. Also, with the added nutrients quitting anything else is made easier because physical instability creates cravings.

    Very, very important in her story is to ditch the sugar. I’ve done it, it’s possible (LHOP). And haha, thought you felt better after ditching the drink? Wait till you delete the sugar from your diet… amazing!

    Well, hope I did not LHOP and rain too strongly. I just am enthousiastic about this approach because my own humble efforts in this field have already brought me so much, I can’t wait to follow up with hers. Unfortunately I have to read the whole book first :-D. I wish I had know all of this before and I imagine others would want to know (do they?), so hence the LHOPPING. Hope it gives you an (other?) outlook in matters and maybe help you find ways to quit what you want to quit.

    Regards, feelingmywaybackintolife

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi there! Thank you for your lovely comment. I am glad to hear that you found something that works for you. Keep up the good work. Hugs.

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    2. rivieradinah says:

      Thanks for this post! Very thought provoking & encouraging. I’ve been taking vitamins too (plus a probiotic for my gut and drinking lemon water in the morning), and I have not had super strong cravings. Except for when my emotions start going wacko.

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      1. 🙂 Happy to hear that you don’t have strong cravings. I find that it makes stopping soooooo much easier. And, read the book, read the book! 😀 She continues on ’emotions going wacko’. The disclaimer: I have not tried the full programme but it sounds like she knows her stuff and non of it is poisoness or addictive. And we all know that people that take XTC deplete their happy hormones stock and need good nutrients, why not people that drink too?

        Liked by 1 person

  2. ainsobriety says:

    I am going to disagree.
    I completely eliminated sugar for years while drinking. I became more and more depressed a and depleted. Of course, I didn’t do it in moderation. I was an extremely disordered low carb fanatic. It is not a nice place to be.

    I’ve begun to learn that we are all different and what work for one person (or a group of people) will not work for everyone. In fact, no one can really decide what is and isn’t healthy. My years of reading would say a nice steak with garlic bitter is a great choice. We all need more fat in our diets. I feel better when I eat like that.

    It works for me, but not for all.

    I have actually added more sugar to my diet in sobriety and I like it. I enjoy. My treats. I deprived myself for long enough with the crazy dieting and exercising when I couldn’t get the booze under control.

    I do do yoga every day. I meditate. I am kind and gentle with myself. Which means I put aside anything that adds rules. It’s mental protection.

    If you feel good, have energy and and aren’t training for the Olympics I would go with what’s working. Make small changes and see how you feel. But be open to both sides of every “nutritional expert”. After years of searching for a fix ( pug the bottle down!) I can honestly say you can find a book to support pretty much any diet you want.

    Mostly I try to drink more water. It’s a good start!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Ainsobriety,
      Happy that you feel better with more sugar. What I’m trying to say (and I’m no doctor just adding what I believe is true because I experience it in my own life and read up on the subject) is that there seems to be a link between hypoglecemia and being prone to alcohol addiction. The HRC who has done research in this field for years noted that people that do not quit sugar and (partially) heal their hypoglecemia, have way more chance to relapse. They say it is because of the instable blood sugar levels alcohol just brings more (short term) benefits. And unstabelised blood sugar levels lead to cravings of sugar and alcohol. And again, easy for me to say because I quit the sugar, the smoking and the caffeine before the booze and I don’t feel it as rules because those four are poisons (and yes, only early days and I do need to work on the addict part but that is way more easy now I don’t have cravings). But indeed, low carb eating requires orderly eating otherwise it will make anybody, hypoglecemic or not, feel down. 😦
      All in all: if anybody is eating sugar and still has cravings for booze, or feel depressed or anxious, check out the subject.

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    2. I know what you mean. I just didn’t eat when I was drinking. And now having three kids I tend to do lots of snaking. And drinking water is definitely something I need to do more of. I think I need to find that what will work for me too. I just feel like heath has nit been really part of my life, and I think because I don’t have any health issues I feel like I an healthy. But not really.

      Thanks for stopping by. Hugs.

      Liked by 1 person

    3. rivieradinah says:

      i loved this post. yoga has been really important to me, when i’m able to love myself enough to practice.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. robertlfs says:

    I was sober for a bunch of years when I finally quit smoking. What pushed me over the edge on that issue was ego. At the time, I had to walk up three flights of stairs to get to my departmental office. By the time I got to the third floor, I was so winded that I would go into the restroom and hide in a stall till I stopped huffing and puffing because I didn’t want anyone to see me thusly.

    When I finally did quit smoking, I saw the strong parallels with how I used tobacco in the same way I used alcohol and other drugs – escape. I have played all of the control games with cigarettes that I did with alcohol and some 15 plus years ago just decided to give it up. When I came to that realization, it was not difficult at all.

    In the past few years, I have come to the same realization with food re addiction. I am not interested in getting holy, but do realize that I can eat for the exact same effect as drinking or smoking. I am still working on the food issue. What I like about the OA approach is that one can pretty much define what their abstience is and go with that – like eating so many meals per day and no more, not eating after a certain hour, no binging or purging, and so forth. In that way, I can define what is truly problematic in my eating pattern and correct that. If it works, it works. If I am still uncomfortable, I can revisit and revise.

    As I said, I am not interested in getting holy, just living a full and meaningful life.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, I do too. Totally see how my smoking is like drinking! It just doesn’t make me end up crazy, or on a blackout or in jail. So that my excuse! Lol! No, but seriously. Same addictive mental games! This one is Soo on my list. Good to hear that it was easy for you. Thanks Robert!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. swimsonemile says:

    Smoking tobacco is SO incredibly bad for you – it takes away all the other healthy stuff someone does. You’re better off eating what you want now but work on giving up smoking. It was by far the hardest thing I ever did was quit smoking – harder than giving up beer.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, i totally agree. Quoting smoking is at the top of the list. Thanks for the comment. Hugs.

      Like

      1. Lol! Quitting that is!

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  5. John S says:

    I remember reading somewhere that it actually makes sense to give up nicotine while in recovery. I quit smoking 15 years ago and it was the best thing I’ve ever done for myself. It was tough, but worth it. I also think that diet and exercise are important for emotional and mental well being. I am not incredibly consistent but I’ve been pretty good at running and biking since giving up smoking.

    Oh, I went vegan a year ago, but it had more to do with the ethical reasons than health. I must say though that I have found it much easier to control my weight. I think for me not eating cheese was the biggest benefit. I used to love the stuff but way over indulged.

    Thank you for the post. Keep up the good work and best wishes to you always.

    Like

    1. I think you have a good point there. I think it’s important to get healthy along with recovery and I have made some changes there,I just think I can go a bit further. And none of my friends that have changed their life styles in recovery are in early sobriety, so I think the healthiness comes later in recovery too.

      For me I think it’s the dialog that I have with myself… very similar to when drinking, you know it’s not that bad, I’ll start later, just a one won’t hurt… and on and on. So I find that interesting to say the least! Lol!

      Thanks for the comment! Hugs.

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  6. I gave up booze, and picked up sugar. Although I do it in moderation. I have always been very aware of my diet, even when I was drinking. Since I drank so much sugar and so many calories, I never allowed myself to eat any type of sweets. I just cut them out completely. Now, I enjoy some M&M’s, or a cookie each day.
    I find it easy to moderate my “treats”, something I could never do with my booze. So I don’t feel bad about it.
    I run almost every day, and do a lot of other physical activity throughout the day, so I haven’t gained or lost any weight since giving up booze and picking up candy or cake.
    Everything in moderation, red meat, fish with mercury, and sweets.
    No booze, not again, ever.
    That is my idea of living sober. 🙂

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    1. That’s great! You know I totally admire your running and workouts!

      I had the same sort of thinking about eating when I was drinking. I thought, well, all that wine has to have a tons of calories, so I just won’t eat. Bad I know. I know the moderation is key, I think I can eat all foods as long as I don’t over do on any. It’s definitely something to work on! I actually though of training for… maybe…. like a half marathon… but I hate running. Lol.

      Thanks for the comment! Hugs!

      Like

  7. rivieradinah says:

    Hi Courage,

    This is a really timely article for me. I did just start my sobriety (Take 2 – ha!), but I’m already thinking about these things. I have been thinking the same thing you wrote – that some of these “treats” are actually helping with my withdrawal. Maybe I need ot rethink this.

    Unlike you, I combined my nightly drinking with munchies as well (sometimes prodded along by a little weed added in to the dysfunctional mix). I’m really overweight right now, and it’s a big, bad part of my whole depression and addiction cycle. I wanted to respond to what you wrote before reading all of the comments, but I’m interested in what anyone has to say about health. Right now I eat pretty much like you do (steak with butter? coffee? sugar? YES.), but it’s probably a lot more dangerous for me.

    One of my biggest problems is that I love to cook, and always have. Now I work full time and also provide almost all of the meals for my family at home. I am constantly cooking. And we do a pretty good job most of the time with what we eat – whole grains, organics for thin-skinned fruits and veggies that are most susceptible to pesticide retention, limit red meat and almost never eat out, especially not junk food. But I still keep gaining weight because I don’t exercise and I really don’t count calories. I sit at a desk most of the day, and I’m (way) over 40.

    Something I read about liver health recently makes me think that it is the key to our health. So I’m just going to give myself a break until I get through the 100 day sober challenge! I have made a plan for fitting in some exercise during the week (starting this week!), and then I will start looking at my food issues.

    Good luck with your next step! If you’re an alcoholic who quit drinking, you’re capable of A LOT, in my opinion. And you stay open and keep talking about what’s going with you, so you should be able to wade through any issues that making new changes will bring up!

    Hugs & courage!

    Like

    1. Hi there. This is true for me too. I am over 40, I sit at a desk all day, and I don’t exercise. And although I believe that in early sobriety being overly concern with dieting may not be helpful as far as more things to worry about (not drinking takes the priority ) at some point it’s beneficial to get healthy of course. I know that my body was pretty much in shock when I took the booze away, I don’t want to experience that again by taking something else completely away (except or the smoking ugh. ) but I know that I can make some changes. So far, since this post I have worked on eating less carbs, because I am used to eating lots of granola bars and I know they are loaded with sugar and carbs. I have also replaced my lunch with a salad. This is working pretty good so far. The scale hasn’t moved, but I do feel lighter!

      Woot woot! on 100 day challenge. Hang in. Sending many hugs.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. rivieradinah says:

        Great job! I think you’re going about it the right way, for sure…just make one or two replacements, see how that goes, maybe do a little more. That’s a great method. Have a great day! 12 Days for me. ❤

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Yey! 12 days is awesome! You’re doing Great!

          Liked by 1 person

  8. I’m so glad you said not to quit anything in the first year, so I have another 2 months of eating crap and smoking like a chimney before I have to address my other bad habits! Seriously, I want to do something about my weight soon, having gained 20 or so pounds since I quit the booze, but I am going to leave that until after Christmas, although I have slowed down on the really fatty foods and am getting a little more exercise, tiny steps…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes! Tiny steps! Lol! I should have mentioned that none of those friends are in early sobriety. In fact they are all in long term, 5+ years.

      I was thinking today that maybe the whole eating thing is sort of like me wanting to sill be “bad” lol! Like I used to think I was so cool and bad. Now I don’t drink, I don’t party, I am a mom, and I drive a minivan. Some part of me still wants to rebel and be bad! Lol!

      Well hang in! 2 more months to first year without booze is quite an accomplishment! Woot woot! Just awesome !

      Thanks for stopping by. Hugs.

      Like

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